2016 Division Chenin Blanc "Inonde"
2016 Division Chenin Blanc “Inondé”
Willard Farms Vineyard Columbia Valley AVA
One of fastest growing and diverse American wine growing regions of the past 40 years is the Columbia Valley, a wide swath of land that reaches from the northern border of Oregon to well into the northeastern parts of Washington State. Within this region is a is the Yakima Valley, home to our old vine Chenin Blanc at Willard Farms. The Willard Chenin vines are planted on soils formed from volcanic Miocene uplift against basalt bedrock with the primary top soil being made up of quartz and lime- silica, overlaid with the mixed sedimentary runoff of Missoula Floods that makes the soils in the region so dynamic and unique. The newly renamed Chenin Blanc “Inondé,” which means “to flood” in French, was named after the influence of these Missoula Floods on the soils and terroir in the Columbia Valley. We love this particular site, as it is one of the last remaining old vine Chenin Blanc sites in the Pacific Northwest, has demonstrated a unique and interesting terroir influence in the wines, and is farmed by an excellent, albeit quirky, farmer named Jim Willard who has a deep understanding of the soils and region
We believe the best wines will be made by picking before overly ripe characteristics dominate the wine and balance, freshness and finesse suffer. Therefore, like in the some of the best domaines of the Loire Valley where Chenin Blanc hails from, we performed two passes of picking. We have utilized this technique since our first year with the vineyard in 2013 and clearly taste the added complexity and dimension that it brings. In 2016, the first pass was completed by mid September, with fruit quality that was healthy and with bright acidity and chalky flavors. The second picking was completed approximately two weeks later and was perfectly ripe and delicious. For the first time, we utilized a pressing technique most common to making high quality Champagne, which involves redirecting the heart of the press “coeur de cuvee” directly into barrel and hence, bypassing the settling with the rest of the pressing. This led to a wine of significant depth and character and something we believe shows the excellent promise of Chenin Blanc from the Northwest.
The 2016 Division Chenin Blanc “Inondé” is a brilliantly intense and balanced Chenin Blanc. The crux of this wine, is the mid and back palate featuring lanolin character, chalky minerality and floral notes. The palate is ripe, dry and filled with tense acidity that brings the whole wine together. The wine is drinking very well at the moment, especially if opened an hour or two in advance, however, we believe this wine has a very long future ahead of it, perhaps even a few decades before peaking!
Alc - 13.1%, pH 3.24, 82 cases